Arrium Ltd shares suspended: Is this the end for the miner?

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Embattled iron ore miner and steelmaker Arrium Ltd (ASX: ARI) has suspended its shares from trading today, extending on the trading halt the shares have been in since Monday.

Arrium has dominated news headlines over the last few days. The future of the business – and its thousands of employees – hangs in the balance after its lenders rejected a recapitalisation plan floated by GSO Capital Partners LP, which is part of private equity giant Blackstone.

In an update to the share market today, Arrium said it expected to make an announcement within a week regarding the matter. However, it is believed that the bankers are pushing for the business to enter voluntary administration with The Sydney Morning Herald even reporting the banks offered to lend the business another $400 million on that very condition.

Indeed, Arrium finds itself in a very peculiar position right now due to the heavy decline in the iron ore price in recent years, and its creditors justifiably want to recover as much of the debts owed to them as possible. As at 31 December 2015, the miner had $303.6 million of cash and cash equivalents, but almost $2.4 billion of interest-bearing liabilities on its balance sheet.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) is one of the major banks exposed to Arrium’s woes, with Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC), National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) also said to be part of the syndicate.

As it stands, Arrium’s share price is sitting at 2.2 cents, down from a 52-week high of 20.5 cents and around $6.85 a share in 2008. For now, investors will just have to wait and see until the company provides us with another update.

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